If you can’t join the jobs market...beat it. With a huge number of graduates struggling to find a job since finishing their studies this summer, why not have a slight career rethink and start your own business?
“But I’m only 21!”, “Don’t I need at least some experience in a more conventional job before lanching a company?” may be a couple of the many thoughts running through your mind right now. A quick word of advice: keep calm...and never say never, especially before reading this.
Entrepreneur First, a ‘boot camp’ run at the Cambridge University, has selected 30 graduates from across the UK to take part in a programme which encourages talent fresh out of university run a business rather than working in one.
The lucky 30 have been busy preparing for today – their first Monday morning running their own businesses in small teams, from an east London office. They have spent the past few months with experienced investors and business owners, swatting up on essential business knowledge from PR and marketing to management and accounting.
St Andrews English and History graduate, Leo Anthias, is one of these 30 talented graduates. The 22-year-old said: “I always thought that you needed 10 years’ experience at something more conventional before launching a company. Entrepreneur First changed that thinking.
“I don’t have experience of working in a corporate environment for years, but I think that can be a positive — you’ve got a fresh perspective instead of the tunnel vision you get in some industries.”
This may quell your concerns about needing experience before starting a business, but the question of your age still stands unanswered – will employers take you seriously? The answer is yes – the majority of graduates on the scheme will be running technology companies, which is no coincidence.
“The great thing about tech is that [starting a company] is cheap, fast and the founders can be credible — on the internet, there’s that saying, 'no one knows you’re a dog.’ No one knows you’re 21 either. If the product’s good enough, you’re good enough. But if you’re trying to negotiate leases on a retail franchise, being 21 might be a problem,” scheme co-manager Matt Clifford said.
Learning to run your own business will see you make some useful contacts, and teach you skills you can utilise in any career – making you economically valuable and more importantly, employable. As 22-year-old Nottingham University graduate Zahid Mitha says, “There are options other than applying for 20 graduate jobs you don’t really care about.”